Preston Awarded Scholarship

June 21, 2017 

Levi Preston, an employee at PioneerCare Center and student at North Dakota State College of Science in Wahpeton, has received the Lillian Saure Scholarship administered by the Pioneer Auxiliary to continue his education in nursing.

Preston began his involvement with PioneerCare as a volunteer and became a CNA in 2011. While working at PioneerCare, he has completed the Practical Nursing program at NDSCS. Using the $1,500 scholarship award this fall, he will enter the Registered Nursing program there. Beyond that, Preston plans to pursue his Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing and ultimately, a Doctorate of Nurse Practice.

“Nursing is all that I have ever wanted to do,” Preston wrote in his application essay. “As I grew older, and my grandmother’s health began to fail, I saw the impact the nurses in the nursing home and hospice home had on both my grandmother’s last days and my family. The nurses not only provided care to my grandmother’s physical needs; they also focused on her emotional, mental, and spiritual needs and it was then that I knew nursing was the profession for me.”

Relating his experience with PioneerCare so far, Preston continued, “I learned so many foundational principles of caring for others during my time as a CNA and continued to learn over the five years I was a CNA. I believe those years of being a CNA gave me the skills and knowledge to care well for others and as I continue my education, building on that foundation, I will be able to provide even better care to every patient.”

Lillian Saure, the scholarship’s namesake, was the first licensed administrator of Pioneer, serving from 1965 to 1975. It was a time of growth and change for PioneerCare. Under Saure’s watch, a major expansion was completed at the original campus on Sheridan Street in Fergus Falls. The Pioneer 100 organization was formed to raise funds for construction and that organization later became the Pioneer Foundation. Before Pioneer, Saure’s career began as a nurse in the Fergus Falls area. Following retirement, she moved to St. Cloud where she continued in healthcare as a volunteer. In 1998, she returned to Pioneer as a resident.

Saure’s daughter, Mabeth Gyllstrom, grew up around her mother’s work, volunteered frequently, and developed a love for Pioneer and its mission. As an adult, Gyllstrom served on both the Auxiliary Board and Foundation Board. Gyllstrom decided to honor her mother’s work as a nurse and administrator by donating the funds to create the scholarship.

Each spring, the Pioneer Auxiliary seeks candidates who fit the scholarship’s criteria. While PioneerCare employees are invited to apply, students from the broader community are eligible as well, providing they plan to pursue a related degree or certificate program with a goal to enter or advance their career in health care.

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